Jersey murder trial: Damian Rzeszowski 'heard voices in his head'


A man who killed six people, including his wife and two young children, in a knife attack has been hearing voices in his head, a court heard.

Damian Rzeszowski, 31, is accused of murdering his wife, Izabela Rzeszowska, 30, along with their daughter, Kinga, five, and two-year-old son, Kacper, in St Helier, Jersey.

Rzeszowski, a builder from Poland, is also charged with the murders of his wife's father, Marek Garstka, 56, her friend, Marta De La Haye, 34, and De La Haye's five-year-old daughter, Julia.

The royal court in St Helier has heard that Rzeszowski struck as his wife painted with the two girls and his son played with a toy car at their flat on the Channel Island.

He is said to have been a hard-working and loving father who provided for his family but went off the rails after his wife admitted to an affair.

Rzeszowski has pleaded guilty to manslaughter through diminished responsibility, but the plea is not accepted by the crown, which argues the defendant was not suffering an "abnormality of the mind" when the attacks took place. He denies murder.

Consultant psychiatrist Dale Harrison said that when he interviewed Rzeszowski five days after the attacks, which happened on 14 August last year, he found no definitive symptoms of psychosis.

Rzeszowski has been treated at Broadmoor hospital in Berkshire but Harrison re-examined him following his return to Jersey and reported that the defendant had been hearing voices.

Harrison said: "These voices are related to stress he is under. His stress levels are up since leaving Broadmoor hospital and being put in prison."

In the first interview Harrison conducted with Rzeszowski on 19 August last year the defendant said he could not remember what had happened.

Solicitor General Howard Sharp, for the prosecution, read from the notes the psychiatrist made during the interview. He read: "Damian said: 'I just remember the knife. I remember bits and pieces, going behind wife and running behind her.'" He told the psychiatrist he did not remember attacking the children.

At another point in the interview, Rzeszowski told Dr Harrison: "Everybody gone, it is father-in-law, my wife, my wife's friend and daughter. It is me, I did that."

He told the doctor he had no previous thoughts of killing his family or anyone else because he was not "that type of man", although he later added, "maybe when I was drunk or upset".

The court was shown the two kitchen knives Rzeszowski used during the attacks. It also saw a painting the children had been working on just before they were killed.

It has heard that he had been drinking whisky on the day of the killings but was under the drink-drive limit.

Powered by article was written by Steven Morris and agencies, for The Guardian on Tuesday 14th August 2012 19.48 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010